What do some of the UK’s top performing businesses have in common? They all invest in learning and development (L&D), writes Simon Dickinson, Marketing Manager, Membership and Corporate Engagement at BCS. In fact, 94% claim L&D is critical to their success.

Investing above the national average of £300 per employee on training, the impact is profound: higher employee retention rates, satisfaction rates and turnover1. But you can’t just invest in training for training’s sake - it needs to have purpose and align to what the individual and wider business wants to achieve.

You can't manage what you don't measure

When L&D is critical to your success, you need to ensure you’re measuring the impact it’s having, so you know where to invest next. Firstly, you need to quantify the return to prove the investment was worth it. Secondly, if someone later questions your decision, you need evidence to support why that training was granted and prove your investment was a wise one. We believe this is achieved through a simple 3-step process:

  1. Determine why the training is necessary.
  2. Define what success looks like.
  3. Deliver feedback to the business.

Step 1: determine why the training is necessary

To evidence why training was provided to an individual, you first need to identify why the training is necessary in the first place. Too often, training requirements are identified during the appraisal process for short-sighted reasons, in an attempt to quickly patch problem areas.

We need to take a longer term view. By considering the organisation’s wider strategy, it’s aligns training with performance. As well as making it easier to prioritise investments and acquire senior buy-in, it also helps individuals see what they need to do to reach the next level in their career.

Under the SFIAplus framework, you can map out a career path for each member of your team - including the exact skills they need to develop and the courses that will help to acquire those skills. Now every step taken is for a precise purpose, which accelerates their learning journey.

Step 2: define what success looks like

Once you know why you’re investing in training, it instantly becomes simpler to define what success looks like and therefore identify what you need to measure. For example, if your organisational goal is to improve the user experience, you know you need to perform customer satisfaction surveys, track your Net Promoter Score, or record support desk tickets.

In today’s data-driven world, there are endless key performance indicators (KPIs) you could track to determine the impact your training investments are having. The following are a handful of ideas:

  • improved income generation;
  • increased productivity;
  • better utility;
  • examination success;
  • employee satisfaction surveys;
  • customer success surveys;
  • employee churn rates;
  • duration of employment;
  • post-training assessments;
  • reviews / recommendations / referrals.

Step 3: deliver feedback to the business

Finally, you want to prove to the wider business that every investment made in training is delivering a good return - and if not, why not - so the business doesn’t repeat the mistake.

If you’ve completed the first two steps, you already have the reasoning behind the investment and know the ‘evidence’ you need to collect to prove the value it delivers to the business. This final step is simply a case of being transparent with your peers by establishing a feedback mechanism - whether that’s a formal written report, a digital dashboard or a verbal update at the leadership meeting.

How to do this in practice

BCS has developed a new platform that enables organisations to develop their digital and technical skills through a structured development plan.

RoleModelplus starts by looking at your organisation’s goals to identify how to align training so it enables your strategy. Immediately we can spot the skills gaps that are impacting on your success and then work with you to build role profiles based around the SFIAplus benchmark framework, or your own internal taxonomies, to highlight your training requirements. Then the platform’s in-depth reporting function presents a digital dashboard that visualises your skills strengths and any gaps along with a plan for developing those skills.

RoleModelplus benefits include:

  • Streamlined L&D spend: identify the precise skills/courses to deliver organisational success.
  • Common language: create clarity and consistency around technical/digital skills.
  • Detailed development planning: add SMART objectives to keep your training on-track.
  • Inspired career conversations: help your team understand how to get to the next level.
  • Learning culture: continuous staff development supports your business as it grows.

Become a top performing business

To be ‘the best’, you need to commit to helping your people become the best they can. Through RoleModelplus, we can give you the knowledge to help you understand what that looks like in terms of the skills that support performance, the work activities they need to perform, professional certifications to acquire and memberships that would be beneficial.

Discover more about RoleModelplus and how it can improve the impact of your employee training